So 2017 was a mixed bag. Trump. Brexit. Terrorism. Silence Breakers – last year was a series of divisive and challenging tests for humanity.
Unravelling and understanding such complex topics is far beyond the scope of this blog post. What we can say, however, is that we expect the pendulum to swing back back 2018. This leads us into our first customer experience trend for 2018:
1. Social Swing
Whereas 2017 was marked by uncertainty, conflict and isolation, 2018 will see businesses, brands, people, celebrities and influencers make a pronounced effort to restore balance.
We’re not saying 2018 will be easy or problem-free. Far from it. What we are saying is that there’s never been such a potent combination of motivation, accessibility and reward for affecting positive change in the world.
Brand association and responsibility is simply now too delicate and combustable to avoid, particularly online. Consumers expect brands to take a stand against social or political injustices and disasters, especially since they have the gravity to affect change.
This year, expect to see brands take a more prominent stand against cultural and political entities that they see as a threat to their customers’ happiness.
Example – Airbnb’s We Accept Campaign
Almost immediately after the United States implemented stricter border controls, Airbnb aired a commercial demonstrating its commitment to welcoming everyone, regardless of nationality.
2. Personal, by design.
2017 saw continued growth in SaaS markets – including software which enables anyone to create their own online presence.
This is a hugely positive advancement in making the web a true democracy, as well as encouraging wide, and deep, competition. A consequence of this is that design and graphics are becoming more standardised; with templates and stock images being the main content.
We expect graphic designers to be one of the main beneficiaries of this. As businesses face increased competition, there is an increased demand for differentiation.
This will spill out across the web, as well as offline, and result in more businesses, big and small, creating and implementing their own unique style and graphics. Expect to see more bespoke illustrations, as well as larger organisations creating personal and ‘imperfect’ micro-brands which take advantage of this trend.
Example – Glasgow-based Glöbel Bros is brightening up Glasgow with sharp, eye-catching and beautifully crafted hand-painted signs. Image below Instagram @ciaranglobel
3. Customer-First Design
Having worked on so many digital design projects, we’re acutely aware of how easy it is to become focused exclusively on how a website benefits the business.
“Will we sell more?”
“Will we get more customers?”
“How much will we save?”
This can result in visitors being neglected and it represents one of the biggest challenges we expect to see addressed in 2018.
Whether it’s a app, website, packaging, software – the first and foremost question the most successful companies will be asking in 2018 is “What value does this have for our customers?”
Improved conversions, revenue, engagement and market share are all by products of customer experience. We expect to see more designers branch out into customer experience design as it increasingly represents the most effective way of making a positive impact.
The ultimate winner is going to be the customer herself, but expect to see more thoughtful brands putting their customer needs front and centre.
Example – Harry’s provides a razor and shaving subscription service. By putting its customers’ needs first and focusing on overall experience it has grown rapidly since its inception and is changing the industry.